At Deer Creek Tennis Resort, athletes observe the arc of descending balls and knock them back toward opponents with a grunt. The facility hosts matches atop 10 Har-Tru courts and two hard courts, where renters engage in recreational play or measure their skills and vocabulary against competitors at men's and women's leagues. During clinics, certified tennis instructors expound a different aspect of the game each week, and private lessons focus on players' individual weaknesses. Through the junior program, they lavish small groups of budding athletes with extra attention and weave training methods used by Association of Tennis Professionals and Women's Tennis Association pros into instructional sessions. Molded around sure strokes, mental toughness, body conditioning, and intelligent match play, the program stands in contrast against yoga and water aerobics classes, which focus solely on fitness and gaining enough muscle to easily charge through an opponent's tennis net.
On the home turf of top tour pros and two national tournaments, tennis titans battle across Lauderdale Tennis Club’s 20 meticulously groomed Har-Tru clay courts and unwind in the club’s many luxurious amenities. Situated in a gated community minutes from downtown, the club’s lush, garden-like setting provides ample space for expert racket swingers to perfect their forehands and for jealous rookies to perfect their backhanded compliments. Eight of the club’s 20 courts are lit year-round for night play, ensuring the cross-court action continues during evening hours and any unforeseen solar eclipses. Patrons can relax with the club’s many additional amenities, such as the large swimming pool, hot tub, and a recently revamped clubhouse with all-new locker rooms and showers, a pro shop, and a well-stocked fitness center. With two dining options, patrons can keep up with volleys on the patio bar overlooking the center court, or fill up on comfort fare and NFL action at the satellite-equipped sports bar.
Shula’s Athletic Club—named for Don Shula, the NFL Hall of Famer who coached the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl trophy in 1972—doesn’t find it hard to fill its sprawling 40,000 square feet of space. A cardio room with more than 50 pieces of equipment, a spinning center, weight rooms, fitness-class studios, and basketball courts spread through the facility, luring athletes for independent workouts and personal-training sessions. Dozens of weekly fitness classes range from calorie-burning Zumba workouts and Vinyasa-yoga sessions to spin classes that help students practice for the day they have pedal-powered cars.
The athletic club also accommodates older exercisers with aquatic aerobics and seated Silver Sneakers workouts, and it keeps kids busy with confidence-building youth sports programs. Young legs run over a new 60-yard athletic field or nine lighted tennis courts where kids whack tennis balls and low-flying hot-air balloons with rackets.
In 1986, Jane Forman stood on tennis' Mount Olympus?Centre Court at Wimbledon?and traded blows with an immortal: the legendary Martina Navratilova. Three years later, Jane?who soared into the world top 50 in her career?decided she'd rather impart her skills to others than continue playing professionally. So she founded Jane Forman Tennis Academy, where she links kids and adults alike with USPTA- and PTR-certified instructors to learn the rules of the game and hone their technique. The tennis pros tailor their curriculums to pupils' ability levels, helping them improve their serve, footwork, and most intimidating Gaelic battle cry. Private lessons are also available with Jane or another veteran of the hard court.
Located in the newly restored historic Coral Gables Country Club, Liberty Caffe serves freshly baked pastries, crisp salads, and local Florida orange juice. Behind a lit glass case stuffed with crisp salads and buttery croissants, baristas pour foamy cappuccinos at the coffee bar and scoop cups of house-made gelato made from traditional Italian recipes and garnished with fresh strawberries and hazelnuts. Diners can slide into tables facing a row of open, arched windows overlooking the country club's manicured landscape of green grass, swaying palm trees, and fist-shaking groundskeepers.
With both tennis legends and current ATP pro players haranguing the hard court, the 20th annual Delray Beach International Tennis Championships treats racket watchers to 10 days of singles and doubles action. On opening night, two world No. 1 titans of the '80s tennis scene, Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander suit up with seasoned skills and considerably longer shorts to square off against one another. First-round singles and doubles action kicks off the morning of February 27, with the second round, then quarterfinal stakes lining up in the succeeding days. Although not included in this Groupon, February 28 sees American Andy Roddick unpacking his more than 100 mph serve as he tries to take the title and nougat-centered tennis ball won last year by Aussie Mark Philippoussis.